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17 year old problems

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leighb | 09:06 Tue 21st Oct 2008 | Parenting
4 Answers
Hi all, I have some problems with my 17 year old son, From a very early age he has been steeling, it could be anything, from sweets from his older brothers and cash, we had and still have to put locks on doors and even lock the fridge and freezer to stop food and personal belongings going missing, he helps himself to any thing. I know you all think it harsh to lock the fridge and freezer, I dont mind him helping himself to food, but its the quantity that he will have, he will eat a whole block of cheese, all the milk, all the biscuits, whole christmas puddings. No one sees him do it, we just find the wrappers hidden down the backs of chairs when they start smelling and have even found empty packets of custard powder. He denies it is him and then goes in a sulk for days. His Mother and I parted when he was 12 but he was the same before we split up, he would help himself to the daily shop takings and the school would phone to say he had a large quantity of money on him, all cash is locked away now but if i leave my wallet out, money will dissapear. since the age of about 10 he has taken ladies underwear, my partner and i have found it hidden in his bedroom, and hidden in the airing cupboard on the landing, along with sanitary towels, tampax etc, he even takes his mothers underwear when he visits, and steels money from her, My partner now wants him out of the house as she is fed up with the situation, its like living in a prison, carrying bunches of keys around because doors are locked. We love my son to bits and I feel gutted about the whole thing, he will be great for a week or so then it will be back to square one. He has a full time job but hardly ever goes out with his friends and just sits in front of a screen all the time. I had to put parental control on his computer because of the strong porn he was downloading, he was paying �100 per month for this until I destroyed his bank card, but he did it again. Can some one tell me where I have gone wrong??


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Firstly let me say you have my sympathy, My brother used to(and probably still does) steal, money (mainly).

I don't think you should be blaming yourself for this but you do have to find a way to help him change his behaviour, because if he carries on this way he's going to get into some serious trouble sooner or later!

For my brother I think it was part attention seeking, seeing what he could get away with after our parents split, partly because he was in with a bad crowd, and partly maliciousness (trying to hurt our mum and getting/trying to get me into trouble)

If it was just money going missing I'd say threaten to get the law involved it might be harsh but could be a bit of a wake up call. BUT because he's also stealing underwear and food it sounds like he has a compulsion.

Have you considered getting him some kind of councelling, because stealing food and undies is not 'normal' behaviour.

I assume you've tried talking to him. What does he say about it all? how does he explain al these items going missing / turning up in his room etc?

I hope you manage to get all this sorted!
I tend to agree with the last answer...your son needs help and it is help that you cannot give....things have gone on for too long and are too fraught for you to make much progress on your own now. What you can do, however, is to try to get him some professinal help. As he is 17 this might not be that easy. He falls into that difficult gap between adult and children's services. Try his GP first. If your son won't go, go yourself and explain what has been going on. Stealing clothes and emptying the fridge etc is not within the normal limits of bad behaviour. If you have no luck with the GP, there may be local counselling services or, (gulp) you might even try the local Social Services...they are not there just for abuse etc and they do do counselling.
If you have gone wrong, I doubt it has been just you going wrong.....problems as complicated as this rarely have simple explanations...or simple solutions.
I hope things work out for you all.
id say the money and food is normal ( not nice) but kids do things like that, he could be comfort eating? and maybe buying extra food with the money>? is he overweight? maybe he is depressed

the undies and sanatary things? i cant think for the life of me why a child would steal those things, i mean from his mum? does he do that now or was it just when he was 10?
he could have been curious about things i guess, 10 is still a very niaeve age,

porn is normal in a young boy, they are curious and just boys being boys!!

Could your son have Kleptomania do you think? htm
I would seek advice from your GP as soon as possible as it may be that he has no control over the need to steal things.The fact he is stealing things like sanitary towels and tampons,things for which he obviously has no use,make sit seem more like a compulsion than a deliberate act.

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